Simple outline drawing of a person wearing a strap-on harness with a bright rainbow watercolor overlay

How My Partner and I Picked Out Our First Strap-On Harness

Overcoming Trauma: Tackling Strap-Ons Again After Some Tough Times

CONTENT WARNINGS: Abusive relationship dynamics, particularly emotional and financial abuse, and sexual assault.

I previously wrote a long post detailing my trauma about strap-on sex. If you missed it, my formative experiences with strap-on sex involved an abusive ex-girlfriend, cheap and flimsy strap-on harnesses, and dildos that were ugly, toxic, and overall terrible. Because of this, I was highly averse to strap-on sex for the years that followed my ex and I breaking up in 2014.

But, in 2019, I got into a new relationship that was actually HEALTHY. I spent a lot of time working through my various layers of sexual trauma, and by 2020, I felt like I was finally time to dig into one of the deepest layers: the strap-on trauma.

WHERE TO BEGIN? NAVIGATING STRAP-ON RELATED SEXUAL TRAUMA:

When I had engaged in strap-on play with my Demon Ex, whether I was bottoming or topping, all of my memories were associated with the (at best) unpleasant and (at worst) abusive circumstances of that former relationship.

By this point, I had reached a point where not only had I done a substantial amount of emotional healing, but I was also fucking tired of the past hanging over my head and tormenting me.

My partner and I had a healthy, positive sex life, and we had just started incorporating sex toys into our relationship. After trying out the single vibrator I owned at the time, my partner and I made the joint decision to buy some more sex toys.

While it was an awkward conversation to have, we were able to shyly spit out that we were both interested in trying strap-on stuff. 

The problem was…where would we begin?

Because of my trauma, we decided the best place to begin was by figuring out what, specifically, made my past experiences with strap-on sex so miserable.

HARNESS HANG-UPS:

The first problem I had with the strap-on harnesses of my past was the style of the harness. All of them were made from flimsy, irritating material, and I recall how the fastening mechanisms were not only bad at fastening and adjusting, but they also pinched! They were uncomfortable and unwieldy, making them a pain in the ass just to get on, much less use.

Another key torturous memory was that all the strap-on harnesses of my past were thong-style, which, like…Kill me.

Just fucking kill me.

There is nothing worse than the unholy combination of  being psychologically uncomfortable with the sex act you got coerced into doing, and the toxic dildo that grosses you out AND simultaneously having imitation leather riding up your ass.

STRAP-ONS AND GENDER DYSPHORIA:

Not only were my experience with thong-style harnesses physically uncomfortable, but they also placed me into a special kind of Gender Hell. Thongs are not a style of underwear I wear…ever. Not under any circumstances. I’m a boxer briefs bitch.

Having to deal with a thong-style harness felt like I was being held at gunpoint against the wall of feminine gender norms that make me miserable. But at the time, I wasn’t really aware of any alternatives. The websites and sex stores my ex and I knew of only offered cheap, low-quality thong style harnesses that were definitely designed for women to peg their husbands with. And of course, they were all represented in a sleazy, hyper-feminine, hyper-sexualized way. A baby butch lesbian like myself wasn’t welcome in the picture.

When I was younger and suffering through these hell harnesses, I remember rigging the straps around in some way that sacrificed control for the sake of sheltering my asshole from the torment of a thong harness. When my partner and I started researching our new future strap-on harness, I was blessed with the knowledge that not all harnesses are thong-style.

Thank fucking god. 

DECIDING ON A HARNESS TOGETHER:

By reading the helpful posts of other bloggers, my partner and I decided we were going to get a SpareParts harness, no matter what. We were initially torn between getting the Joque, which has straps that go around the thighs and leave the ass mercifully out in the open, or the Tomboi, which is an underwear-style harness.

We ultimately chose the Joque because the reviews were better, and we anticipated the potential future problem of the elastic in the Tomboi’s underwear-style construction wearing out. Additionally, while my partner and I are relatively close in size, we aren’t exactly the same.

The Tomboi was initially appealing to us because it’s similarly styled to the type of underwear my partner and I like to wear. However, we realized there wasn’t a point in buying an underwear-styled harness when it was much easier to just buy the Joque and wear it on top of our regular underwear, if we so desired. For us, the Joque promised superior adjustability and versatility (and delivered on that promise).

GENDER DYSPHORIA: HACKED

For me, wearing the Joque over my underwear when in use was an absolute requirement. The first time we used the Joque would be my first time topping with a strap since I had been with my ex, and to say I was feeling anxious is an understatement.

A lot of what haunted me from my past was the feeling of being exposed, vulnerable, and honestly just feeling stupid. Additionally, gender dysphoria was still a huge part of my hesitance, too. I didn’t have the words to identify it when I was younger, but gender dysphoria has made sex difficult for me since the day I first became sexually active.

But by now, I knew myself better. I knew that even the thought of topping with a strap-on while my big jiggly titties were wobbling around wasn’t something I could cope with.

So, when preparing to bust the strap out, I not only kept my underwear on, but also put my binder on and layered a t-shirt on top of that. Additionally, I got the strap situated in the bathroom while my partner waited for me in the (pitch black) bedroom. By wearing clothes that eased my dysphoria and made me more comfortable, I was a lot more comfortable and in a lot better mindset for sex.

I would like to emphasize here that my partner is a fucking saint and I really appreciate how endlessly patient they are with me and all of my bullshit. 

LEARNING TO DEAL WITH LUBE:

Another big problem for me with the strap-on was lube. I knew that it was necessary in order to make sex more comfortable and enjoyable, but lube has always squicked me out really bad and I’ve always hated touching it.

I have OCD—not the “lol I’m so OCD!” Kind, but the actual “I have a diagnosis for this and oh god when will it end” kind. Because of my OCD, I get really easily agitated and grossed out by certain smells and textures. Experiencing OCD related sensory distress in any situation almost immediately makes me shut down.

In the past, my Demon Ex always laughed at me and taunted me for my reluctance to interact with lube—which, might I add, was gross cheap lube that definitely had harmful ingredients.

When my current partner and I first tried out strap-on sex, my suffering was greatly alleviated when my partner graciously applied the lube to the dildo for me. Even better, they kept a towel close by so they could wipe their hands off before touching me again.

I’ve gotten a lot better with lube since then, and I definitely credit this gentle exposure method for my improvement. I know lube is key to making sex better and more enjoyable for all parties, but also, like…we can’t choose what our sensory issues are. We can only cope with them.

STRAP-ON SUCCESS!

From this point on, things got a lot easier. Really, once the dildo was in, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Unsurprisingly, sex is better when the person (or people) you’re having sex with have your best interests in mind, and I was able to calm down enough to eventually ditch my protective top layer of clothing, too.

The cold bitterness of trauma ultimately has nothing on the feral urge of “touch skin together NOW!!!” Although I still leave my underwear on when I’m topping, and still require having a t-shirt on at the beginning, I’m undoubtedly way better than I used to be.

When the time came for me to bottom with the strap, things were easier, again, because it felt like the greatest hurdle had already been cleared. Still, my partner was initially really slow and cautious with me, and they didn’t push me if anything hurt or if I had an anxiety flare. Additionally, being in a state of actually warmed up, lubed up, and feeling safe made penetration way easier.

Compared to my Demon Ex jabbing a dildo in at a bad angle, being constantly impatient with me, and making every speed bump during sex something that was “my fault” instead of a minor problem to work together to resolve…yeah, this experience was a million times better. 

TAKING A REALISTIC APPROACH TO NAVIGATING SEXUAL TRAUMA:

I don’t intend for this post to be an “I did it and so can you!” type of thing. Realistically, it took around six and a half years for me to cope with the trauma between the last time my Demon Ex and I had sex with a strap-on and the first time me and my current partner even discussed the idea of using a strap-on.

This post also isn’t meant to be a road map—for example, while a dark room eased my anxiety, it could just as well heighten someone else’s anxiety. It takes a long-ass time to recover from sexual trauma, especially when your sexual trauma and formative sexual experiences are one and the same. 

DISCOVERING THE JOY OF STRAP-ON SEX:

So much of my bad experiences were caused by an uncaring partner and by low-quality, unsafe sex toys. But strap-on sex didn’t have to be cheap pleather riding up my ass or a toxic dildo giving me a yeast infection. It could be—and ultimately was—great! The key was having a safe dildo, a good-quality, gender affirming harness, and most importantly, a caring and supportive partner. 

Simple outline drawing of a person wearing a strap-on harness with a bright rainbow watercolor overlay

Anyway, are you sick of hearing me process my sexual trauma on the internet? Good news!

My next blog post is an actual review of the SpareParts Joque harness!

Finally, you can have some strap-on writing that ISN’T tied to my feelings! Fantastic!

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